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How an iconic Protestant Church became a stunning Catholic cathedral

Christ Cathedral in Orange, California is one of the most unique Catholic churches in the world. “Neither Crystal nor Gold” tells the story of how the former protestant megachurch was transformed into an stunning Catholic cathedral. 

It begins with Protestant pastor Robert Schuller, who set out to built the all-glass church and became the most watched preacher in the United States for years, before encountering financial trouble.

Author, “Neither Crystal nor Gold”

I'm sure that Schuller didn't say, “I expect this to lead to a bankruptcy, and the failure of Crystal Cathedral Ministries.” But he had decades of achievement in that area. When it came down to it, who buys the cathedral? The Catholic Diocese of Orange. And that made him happy, he wanted it to be a real cathedral.

The Diocese of Orange then had the delicate task of transforming the space into a functioning Catholic cathedral, from installing bishop's doors to placing a marble altar at the center of the church.   

Author, “Neither Crystal nor Gold”

When it came to specific Catholic elements, they referenced history, they referenced art, they referenced whatever they could to come up with the exact plan for “alright, this altar needs to be here, because this is the spot of pointing in a certain direction, that it would work for the pews, so that everybody was focused on it.”

Author Robert Artigo says the book's main character is the Holy Spirit, which guided the various actors towards making Christ Cathedral what it is today through faith. 

Author, “Neither Crystal nor Gold”

You see these different leaps of faith by Schuller, when he came to California, for example, he had 400 dollars in his pocket and didn't know what he was going to do. The Diocese of Orange took a leap of faith to buy the cathedral and make it a real cathedral with a cathedra, with a seat for the bishop, and throughout you see these leaps of faith coming true, in other words leading to something.

Today the cathedral is the seat of the bishop of Orange, and it's 's 34-acre campus is a stunning sight sure to become a destination for pilgrims.